Skiing

Washington Company Buys Blacktail Mountain Ski Area

The beloved Lakeside ski area has operated since 1998 under local ownership, though it has been for sale since 2017

By Micah Drew
A skier rides up the lift at Blacktail Mountain Ski Area outside of Lakeside on Jan. 8, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The Washington-based Mission Ridge Ski & Board Resort announced on Thursday its purchase of Blacktail Mountain Ski Area in Lakeside, where the beloved ski area has operated since 1998, offering an affordable alternative to the region’s larger, more costly resorts.

Mission Ridge currently operates a 2,000-acre ski area outside Wenatchee, Washington. The company drew praise from Blacktail Mountain founder and president Steve Spencer, a Flathead Valley native whose guiding star for more than two decades has been to run a small, community friendly ski area that’s accessible to everyone.

“They are proven ski area operators that are community minded and see a bright future for Blacktail Mountain,” Spencer stated in a press release, referring to Mission Ridge and adding that he, along with his three partners, Tom Sands, Dennis Carver, and Jeff Sorg, “could not be more pleased about the sale.”

Transition between the owners is set to begin immediately with Blacktail retaining all current mountain staff. All season passes and pre-purchased products will be honored, and new benefits for season passholders will be announced in the coming weeks.

Mission Ridge Resort is a member of the Indy Pass, a conglomerate of independently owned ski resorts across the country that offers pass holders several days of skiing at each resort, including Red Lodge Mountain and Lost Trail Powder Mountain in Montana; however, Indy Pass president Doug Fish said there are currently no plans to add Blacktail to the pass for the 21-22 season.

“We are really honored that Steve and his team trust us to operate Blacktail Mountain into the future and plan to make him proud,” said Josh Jorgensen, general manager of Mission Ridge.

Blacktail Mountain, which hosts approximately 45,000 skiers and riders a year, was founded in 1998 and has grown in popularity in recent years as more skiers seek out affordable options away from the crowds. Spencer and his partners listed Blacktail for sale in May of 2017 for $3.5 million. At time time, Spencer said he wasn’t rushing to unload the property, but was ready to retire.

“We are really excited to get to know the Montana ski community and feel that Blacktail Mountain is a great fit for our culture,” said Larry Scrivanich, owner and president of Mission Ridge. “Blacktail Mountain is a treasure of the Flathead Valley and loved by local skiers and snowboarders as well as folks from outside of the area.”

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